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French Immersion at SXSW 2024

From March 10 – 12, the SXSW XR Experience in Austin, Texas showcases outstanding immersive projects by talented international producers to SXSW attendees. 

Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality technologies are finding new ways to enhance our ability to perceive and experience the world around us. The projects presented in SXSW’s XR Experience emphasize storytelling and art in the immersive world.

Learn more about the six French XR projects nominated to compete in the competition below.

Madame Pirate : Code of Conduct (France, USA, Taiwan)

Directed by Dan-Chi Huang and Morgan Ommer

In Madame Pirate : Code of Conduct, amidst a battle between imperial forces and a fleet of 70,000 Red Flag pirates, a timid young interpreter is taken captive. In her struggle for survival, she discovers that neither side is what she expected.

Astra (France, USA)

Directed by Eliza McNitt

Hidden in an astrobiologist’s lost belongings are clues for the journey ahead. Welcome to Astra, your ticket to the stars. This mixed reality experience transports you from Earth to the deepest corners of the cosmos as you embark on a quest to uncover the key ingredients of life in the universe. Step foot on planets and their dark moons in search for future worlds and far away beings.

Emperor (France, Germany)

Directed by Marion Burger and Ilan J. Cohen

Emperor is an interactive and narrative experience in virtual reality, which invites users to travel inside the brain of a father, suffering from aphasia. It is the story of a man who has lost his ability to speak, and of his daughter trying to communicate with him. It is the story of a woman, who wasn’t given the chance to know the man behind her father, now obscured by illness.

Energeia (France)

Directed by Ugo Arsac

Energeia is an immersive documentary experience where you can stroll along without a starting point or destination. Freed from gravity, the visitor is invited to explore ghostly buildings, built from 3D scans within French nuclear power plants. As they go forward into these composite spaces, their direct gaze can trigger hidden interviews with several experts offering a variety of viewpoints about the future of energy on ecological, economic, and geopolitical levels.

Maya: The Birth of a Superhero (France, USA, UK)

Directed by Poulomi Basu and CJ Clarke

Maya: The Birth of a Superhero is the coming of age story of a young South Asian girl, as she discovers her sexuality. She must overcome her shame and fear to find her inner strength and true superpowers. With the arrival of her first period, Maya’s world is turned upside down as she confronts the restrictive traditions of her conservative family, a world of hidden shame, and stigmas and taboos in contemporary London. An odyssey of womanhood and femininity, referencing ancient symbols of spiritual and feminine power, the play combines the real and the imaginary to chart possible paths to resilience and justice. The player must discover a radical power based on self-love, care, and solidarity.

Impulse – Preview (France, UK)

Directed by Barry Gene Murphy and May Abdalla

Impulse is a groundbreaking MR experience that playfully explores what it means to live with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Starting with the inner workings of the brain, the experience explains how humans process and make sense of the world. Then, we meet four characters whose stories and environments spill out into the room around us in a breathtaking MR. We discover the different ways ADHD can affect people by following their real-life stories. Reflecting on our own interactions as well as diverse accounts and perspectives, we experience the complexity of ADHD and ponder how the systems around us might change to make room for everyone.

The event will also invite three French panelists to participate in the following discussions:

March 10, 2024, 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM

Laurence Equilbey (Insula Orchestra), along with Matthieu Lorrain (Google) and Kamal Sinclaire (Music Center), will discuss the impressive and almost infinite possibilities offered by digital technology and the use of augmented reality. The discussion will be moderated by Camille Jeanjean, Head of Villa Albertine’s French Immersion program.

March 11, 2024, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Victor Agulhon (Targo), Megan Bryant (The Sixth Floor Museum), Cortney Harding (XR Consultant), and Chloé Rochereuil (Targo) will explore how immersive storytelling can renew museum storytelling experiences and offer new perspectives to its visitors.

March 12, 2024, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Voyelle Acker (Small Studio), Jimmy Cheng (Atlas V / Sandman Studios), German Heller (3dar and Eggscape Entertainment Inc.), and Eddie Lou (Sandman Studios / Sandbox Immersive Festival) will discuss what types of projects are most suitable for location-based entertainment (LBE) distribution and how to set expectations for investors and operators.

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